Recently, I made my weekly trip to Marshalls (you know, just to look) and I noticed the Halloween decor was starting to pop up. How exciting! Halloween is a time of dressing up, spooky decorations, and yummy snacks. This is a great opportunity to liven up the classroom.
Before you decide to get into the Halloween spirit, consider showing a video about the holiday to your students. This is an easy and effective way to incorporate learning into the fun.
First, a brief history of Halloween, and then a few ways you can get your students in the spooky spirit.
History of Halloween
Halloween's roots can be traced to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced "sow-in"), which was celebrated around November 1st. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, a time associated with death and the coming of darkness. The Celts believed that on the night of October 31st, the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred, and spirits could roam the Earth.
Over the centuries, Halloween evolved with various influences from different cultures. In medieval times, elements of Halloween included "souling" (people going door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes) and "guising" (disguising oneself in costumes to receive food or money). These traditions were practiced in parts of Britain and Ireland.
By the 20th century, Halloween had become a community-centered holiday with activities like trick-or-treating, costume parties, haunted houses, and festive decorations. The commercialization of Halloween began, and it became a significant retail event for candy, costumes, and decorations.
How to celebrate Halloween in the classroom:
Decorate the Classroom: Encourage students to help decorate the classroom with Halloween-themed decorations like spider webs, pumpkins, black cats, and ghosts. This will create a festive atmosphere and add to the Halloween spirit.
Halloween Movie Marathon: Host a Halloween movie marathon with age-appropriate spooky films. You can pick classic Halloween movies or animated films suitable for secondary students. Make it a movie day where students can bring some popcorn and enjoy the show.
Pumpkin Painting: Organize a pumpkin painting activity. Carving a pumpkin is a little messy, so an alternative is painting. Provide pumpkins (or have students bring one in) and painting tools, and let students get creative with their designs. Display the finished pumpkins around the classroom or school.
Spooky Storytelling: Set up a spooky storytelling session where students can share ghost stories or urban legends. You can even dim the lights and create a spooky ambiance to set the mood.
Spooky Snacks: Who doesn't like snacks? Have a Halloween-themed snack time with treats like Halloween cookies, orange fruit cups, or "monster" sandwiches. Be mindful of any allergies or dietary restrictions among the students.
Halloween-themed Classroom Activities: Incorporate Halloween themes into various subjects. For example, in language arts, have students write spooky short stories or poems; in science, explore the science behind some Halloween-related phenomena like bats or pumpkins; in history, delve into the origins and traditions of Halloween.
Remember to maintain a safe and inclusive environment during the celebrations, ensuring that the activities are suitable for all students and cultural sensitivities are respected. Halloween should be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
This Halloween make sure you share the spooky spirit with your students. Feel free to take any of these ideas and put a personal spin on them to meet the needs of your students.
Remember it’s our first duty to love on the kids and second to teach them.
Hugs, Love, and Lots of Kisses.